Editor’s note: It’s nearly impossible to ride all the Moab area mountain bike trails in a single trip and fortunately Maddslacker has made enough trips over the years to recommend the best of the best. This article should get you seriously pumped to go to Moab so also be sure to check out Maddslacker’s “Affordable Moab” article to help you plan your trip.

5. Gemini Bridges/Gold Bar Rim/Golden Spike/Portal

I know this is four trails but they connect into one awesome ride. Leave a drop vehicle at the end of Portal, drive to the parking lot at the beginning of Gemini Bridges Rd and start riding up the dirt road switchbacks. The climb is not bad at all. When you get to the top of the cliff, look back. Yeah, you just rode a bike up that! Across the flats is a left turn onto Gold Bar Rim, which is a jeep trail with lots of slickrock, ledges, and boulders. Hang out at the rim for a bit and then head south along the ridge until you hook up with Golden Spike. This fairly short section connects up with theinfamousPortal Trail. Ride some of it, walk most of it, but either way, be careful and you’ll get down just fine.

Photo: dauw

Photo: dauw

4. Amasa Back

I haven’t actuallyridden this trail yet – it seems like something always comes up when it’s on the schedule. Talking to people who have, I know that it is fairly short, really close to town, and has plenty of rocks to play on. A popular option is to do it in the afternoon after finishing Slickrock or Klondike Bluffs. There are a lot of jeepers on this trail so be nice to them – they have air compressors and extra water.

Photo: CalebWI

Photo: CalebWI

3. Klondike Bluffs

Many people write off this intermediate trail as not being worth riding. They don’t know what they are missing! First of all, don’t park by the highway – drive in another 5 miles and park at the large parking lot by the gate. Not riding that stretch of boring dirt road definitely helps. The trail starts out with some of Moab’s signature tire-sucking sand. This quickly gives way to some doubletrack that alternates between hardpack and exposed ledges. The longest portion of the trail climbs up an angled slab of slickrock. Along this section you’ll find dinosaur tracks and interesting rock formations to check out so definitely explore a little if you have time.

After the slickrock there’s more doubletrack that passes some historic mining ruins, terminating at the boundary of Arches National Park. There is a bike rack here so park your bike and do the 1/2 mile hike into the actual bluffs. Think scenery from old Wile E Coyote cartoonsand you’ll know what to expect. When you’re done sightseeing, you can either head down Baby Steps or back the way you came; either direction ends up where you parked.

2. Slickrock Bike Trail

Mountain bikers come from far and wide to bag this Mecca of mountain bike trails. The scenery is amazing, the traction is so good that you can ride up and down impossible inclines, and it is all arranged in a convenient 10-mile loop. There’s even a 2.5 mile ‘practice loop’ to give riders a feel for what the rest of the trail has in store. This trail is definitely a must-ride, but I can’t give it the top spot because after riding the trail a half dozen times it starts to lose its mystique.

1. Porcupine Rim

Porcupine is the other trail that every trip to Moab must include. Whether ridden as the classic version starting in Sand Flats or including the UPS section, this trail has it all: fast singletrack, huge ledge drops, precipice-hugging sections, amazing scenery, and best of all, very little climbing! XC types and freeriders both will find stuff to love, and it’s well suited for group rides with plenty of photo ops all along the way. Don’t forget to catch some big air off that last berm and smile for the dude in the lawn chair: he’s taking your pic, a copy of which can be purchased in town later in the evening.

Honorable mentions: Poison Spider Mesa, Bartlett Wash and the Whole Enchilada.

Which Moab trails are in your top five?

# Comments

  • trek7k

    I’ve only ridden one trail on your list – Slickrock – so that leaves a lot of exploring to do! I’m sorta kicking myself for not riding Porcupine Rim when I had the chance last summer but there’s always another time…

    Of the Moab trails I’ve ridden, Hazard County is perhaps my favorite – fast, swoopy trails through the scrub far above town. Moonlight Meadows was also fun but really just a cow trail (though the alpine scenery is incredible). UPS is a good trail too.

    Now that I think about it, putting together a top 5 trails list for Moab is nearly impossible. 🙂

  • AK_Dan

    Having just spent a couple weeks there a lot of these trails are still pretty fresh in my mind. One thing I love about Moab is the constant upgrading and expansion of the trails there. Even based on the descriptions/reviews here on ST you will get out there and find a lot more new stuff on the ground that hasn’t been listed yet. I did not get to ride anywhere near the amount of trails I wanted while there but I did get to participate in some trail building, met some great people keeping it all working and learned of some new stuff coming that’s going to be killer!
    The Baby Steps loop that runs parallel to Klondike Bluffs is a great way to ride the two together, (see photo of map on description) watch for the jeep trail sections to be re-routed too singletrack soon.
    At the top of Amasa Back (which is an awesome trail itself) there is now several miles of single track called Hay Stacker (?) – its ____ Stacker, ask @ Chili Peppers, Ashley will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
    Off of the Gemini Bridges ride there is now an area called The Magnificent Seven that is, yes, seven trails in a network. Most are open and the Trail Mix crew is working steadily on the rest to have them open by this summer. This is one of them I didn’t get to ride, its on the list for next time-
    Pipe Dream is a Great 5 miles of new Singletrack right in town. This trail drew first blood this year and I cant wait to ride it again as part of a loop with the Moab Rim Trail.
    Deadman’s Ridge and Bar B have to be some of my favorite new Singletrack in the area. As part of the Moab Brands network there is something for just about every type of rider here.
    Within a couple years there will be 3 new routes north of town, out near the Klondike area that are going to loop almost too the interstate. There are some big plans in the works. But after working with some of the people there I have no doubt they will happen, keeping Moab one of them places we all want to go back to year after year.


    Usually ride Klondike Bluffs
    when I go through there. Has a large pulloff for me to park my truck by the main rd. Even with the dirt road ride in, it’s always worth it.

  • steve32300

    Oh man element,there is a lot to drool over up there,it’s like riding through a life size kalida scope that keeps turning with every pedal stroke,hahahahahaahaha.

  • Gronckle

    Must go back…I only had 1 day on short notice. Got to run out to Bartlett Wash but thats it. I’ve been dying to get back for a few days of dedicated riding.

  • dauw

    I’d move Gemini->Gold Bar Rim ->Blue Dot -> Portal up a few spots. Baby Steps needs to be ahead of Klondike itself, but is really part of Klondike. I still need to ride Hazard County, etc. Yes, there’s too much to ride, and always new stuff to explore. Time to plan another trip……………

  • steve32300

    WOW,5 days is badd ass,how much video and pics do you plan on getting???Me and I’m sure a lot of others here need a fix pretty bad dude………hahahaha.Have fun madd…….

  • Arrie

    Could someone please help. I am a South African MTBker wanting to do Moab, Utah badly. What is the best time of the year to attempt the five trails?

  • AK_Dan

    There is riding available around Moab all year long. April and May are good although April this year was unseasonably cold, spring can be unpredictable. The locals say the fall; Sept and Oct, are the best because the trails have had riders packing them down all summer. And once the kids here go back to school in the fall there are fewer people on the trails. You can visit in the summer if you like, there are a lot of riders to do, just remember it is nicknamed the ‘Toaster Oven’ for a good reason, guess it depends on how adapted to the heat you are.

  • tsnsteelersfan

    Make sure you try Amasa Back – all the way to the top – I make it a point to ride it every time I go to Moab. Heading over next week!

  • mtn417

    Soverign Singletrack is great. Fishers mesa singletrack is super isolated up in the la sals, fun out and back. I’ll say that klondike bluffs is only worth it for the hike into arches at the end, the actual biking is no where near as good as many of the other trails in moab, but everyone as different tastes. The ultimate ride is of course the whole enchilada, probably rivals and even surpasses monarch crest in epicness.

  • maddslacker

    @ AK_Dan It’s Rockstacker, and 3 of us rode Pipe Dream today and it’s incredible. It makes an excellent afternoon ride after the main ride in the morning.

  • fickle_hellcat

    Poison Spider has to beat out Gemini Bridges. There’s just too much road and sand on GB. Good call adding Amasa Back; very cool. I definitely agree with Porcupine Rim as the top choice. I still dream about that ride. Gotta second mtn417 on Sovereign Singletrack. It’s relatively new but an instant classic that shouldn’t be missed.

  • maddslacker

    @ fickle_hellcat, you’ll notice Gemini isn’t listed as a trail, since you can drive a stock SUV on it, rather it’s a starting point to get to Goldbar Rim et al.

    I’ve never ridden Poison Spider but I hear it is very very sandy…and I hate sand.

    I just rode Sovereign for the first time this week and it was awesome. I’ll ride it again, but I still like Klondike better due to dinosaur tracks and the hike at the top.

  • TMWJR777

    Wow! Haven’t rode in Moab in like 5 years. Sounds like they’ve been hard at work building new trails. Well… Guess Moab goes back on the “to do” list.

  • fickle_hellcat

    @maddslacker–true Poison Spider has some sections of sand, but that’s not what you’ll remember about the ride. It has tons of slickrock, awesome views, the infamous exposure section (which is really only a few meters of spicy terrain), and a gnarly descent that would make Danny MacAskill pucker. You’ve got to ride it; you won’t be disappointed.

  • Jake21

    Rode trail 5. Gemini Bridges/Gold Bar Rim/Golden Spike/Portal. Wow this is called the Moses trail. Absolutley true. You will start seeing moses after riding this (6hr Ride). It is also gauranteed you will get lost. So the best advice is to always go to the rim and you will find the trail. Don’t waste your time on Gemini Bridges pretty boring smooth dirt road for Moab Standards (unless you want the full 6hrs). Just drive up Gemini Bridges which is a road to Gold Bar Rim. STAY AWAY from Portal Trail and Ride Poison Spider instead (unless you have a downhill bike and don’t mind dying). This will be conciderabley Faster and you will actually get to ride your bike rather than walk your bike 4miles on portal.

    I am also wondering if the Author has actually rode this trail in its entirity. Definatley would not recommend it to the public in the order it was presented.

    My recommendation would be to shuttle a car to Poison Spider. Then drive up to Gold Bar Rim for the start. Take Gold Bar RIm all the way to the bottom of Poison Spider. This should take 3hrs to 4hrs and will be a sweet ride.

  • maddslacker

    The Author has ridden the Gold Bar Rim combo as described, and even though he was dreading it going in, the Author had a really great time on the ride.

    The Author agrees that Gemini Bridges road is kind of a snooze, but there is good parking at its trailhead, and the climb is a good warmup, especially when it is snowing at the start of the ride.

    Portal trail is completely safe if you heed the signs, and the scenery is amazing. It should be experienced at least once. Poison Spider is a good alternative, but I haven’t ridden it so I can’t comment first hand.

    And yes, you will get a little lost on or around Golden Spike.

  • Jake21

    You are right Portal does need to be experienced once. I will check it off my list.

    Golden Spike was the gem of this connector for me. I loved it. That is were we would got lost but would always find the trail if we went back to the rim. That trail will test your skill level and put you in your place.

    I will rephrase. In 85+ degree weather i would not recommend adding Gemini unless you have at least 90liters of water. I ran out just before Portal with 70liters and a reserve bottle.

  • Jake21

    I meant to say ounces instead of liters on the above. My bad.

  • david_darling

    Just came back from my 20th Anniverary trip to Utah-Moab. It’s hard to believe how much mountain biking has grown since my first trip to Moab. I couldn’t see riding Slickrock again when there is absolutely NO place to park. I’ve never seen it like that, although I’ve usually been there weekdays and in the Fall when most everyone is back at school and things slow down. There are a few trails I’ve never ridden but overall about 80% of the trails in and around Moab have been ridden or attempted. Some because they didn’t sound appealing or challenging enough and others because they’re 4×4 trails and contention with motorized traffic and Hazard Co. which seems to be closed when I show up. Overall, I am very happy to see what is currently happening with new trail construction (singletrack) in Moab. With the growing number of mtn. bikers and other user groups, Moab has been getting abused for quite some time, so more trails are nice to have to alliviate some of the impact. Besides, there is so much cool terrain to create new trails on. Maddslackers list is sweet. Some of my favs are: Amasa Back (combo w/ Rockstacker & Jackson’s) INSANE! Porcupine Rim, Slickrock, Pritchett Canyon to Hunters Canyon (trust me, you want to ride it) and the newer Moab Brands Trails. It’s hard to say… we all have our favs. To me everywhere in Moab is a great place to ride. The scenery is hard to beat and the quality of the rides is amazing. There is something for all types. I’ll be back for the 21st Aniv. trip.

  • maddslacker

    We actually had planned to include Jackson on our recent trip, but we checked the river first and we didn’t feel like swimming it to get back to the trailhead…

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